Ben Ball Roundup: Getting In Game Shape

Ben Ball warriors get back in action tonight against Western Illinois Leathernecks. And the theme of this week continues to be getting into shape. From the Daily News:

UCLA forward Kevin Love still isn't up to speed in the conditioning department.

He's getting closer, Bruins coach Ben Howland said, but there's obviously a transition from the high school game to the college game.

"Compared to his optimum level? He's not there yet," Howland said of Love. "I still think he has a ways to go. I think he's probably at 80 percent of his capacity. The guys that are 100 percent, in my mind, are Russell Westbrook, and I would say Alfred Aboya and Luc (Richard Mbah a Moute).

"The ideal amount of minutes a guy should play on a really good team is 30 minutes. When you're playing 30 minutes as hard as you possibly can, that's really, really stressful in terms of intensity. That's why playing Darren (Collison) 30 minutes against Texas, that's my fault."

Howland ideally would like to play Love in four- to five-minute stretches for eighth-ranked UCLA (9-1).

Reserve center Lorenzo Mata-Real has played so well in reserve that Love hasn't needed to be in prime physical shape.
Love will get there. It takes time for a freshman in Coach Howland’s program to get into optimum shape that fits his scheme. And it has taken other warriors a while to get used to the Howland regimen. Per Howland it even took AA to three years to get into ideal routine in terms of being disciplined in his conditioning and diet. From the LA Times:
Howland said the 6-foot-10 freshman weighs about 262 pounds and suggested Love's ideal playing weight might be 257 to 260. "It's not so much weight," Howland said, "as being able to play long stretches, four- to five-minute bursts. We're fortunate to have Lorenzo under center."

While Howland didn't specifically mention Love he did say that freshmen sometimes have a hard time maintaining a healthy diet. "Josh [Shipp] was horrible his first couple of years," Howland said. "He never got up and went to breakfast. Arron [Afflalo] didn't become committed to his diet until last spring. Bottom line is, you have to be disciplined.

"Kevin was one of the best players in the country playing against high school kids last year. All-Americans always have everybody out to go after you and make a name for themselves."
Well Love has it very good as he has one of the best coaches in America looking out for him, while at the same time he has a team-mates like Mata Real to learn from, who himself has gone through the Howland school of basketball, learning to do all the little things that are transforming these guys into all around players. From the same article in the LAT:
If Love is looking for other clues about what Howland expects from his centers, he could listen to his coach rave about two screens Mata-Real set Saturday against Idaho State.

"We had three wide-open threes in the first half," Howland said, "two off Lorenzo screens on the low guy in the zone. Michael Roll and Darren got open, wide open, on those screens and those are little things that if you don't see it you don't appreciate it."

Mata-Real said it had taken him a long time to understand both the mental and physical aspects of setting a screen. "I'm still learning about it," he said. "It's about being tough and taking the hit to spring somebody. Coach says Alfred is probably the best guy at doing it. When I get somebody open it definitely puts a smile on my face. Especially having coach say, 'Good job, Lorenzo. Good screen.' "
Love, Mata Real continue to get their on court education tonight against Western Illinois Bruin Basketball Report has the preview:
Western Illinois is averaging 61.1 points a game on a meager 38.9% shooting while giving up 69.7 points to opponents. They are being out-rebounded 37.4 to 32.7 a game.

The Leathernecks have just one player averaging in double-figures, senior guard David Jackson (6'4, 190) is scoring 11.6 a game. The team does not start a player taller than 6'7 and their leading rebounder is 6'5 forward David Dubois who averages 7.1 boards a contest.

Western Illinois has been tinkering with a Princeton-type offensive scheme in practices lately and will likely try to slow the pace of the game down.

As for UCLA, Coach Ben Howland is looking for his team to improve in every facet of its game before the start of Pac-10 conference play in early January, including the substitution pattern he employs in games.

"A big thing for me is getting the rotation down so we're playing those eight guys," Howland said at his weekly pressor, "so that guys know when they're coming in and going out. But its been harder with the injuries to Collison and (Michael) Roll to have a consistent eight man rotation up to now."
We will have our open game thread later tonight, which will help us take our mind of all the madness around the football coaching search.

GO BRUINS.
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